👑 Duke to King 👑

🍸Pub-licist🍺 – have you ever wondered what the title would be of someone who recommends good Pubs ? …….. No ? ……

Welcome to – The Thin White Duke http://www.thinwhiteduke.info

A Bar recommended to us by the world weary optimist who ran our B&B – Good Call .

A few Beers – top Tapas – 2 Razzmapolitans & 2 Daft Zombies later …… a few War Stories later, a tour of their cellars and we floated back to bed 😆

30th Sept – Stormy ☔️ Final Day – 6th day hiking . Last few hours heading to the farthest village on the West Coast . The Wall did go this far but being coastal plane and tidal marsh it was mainly earth embankment.

Flat doesn’t begin to describe it ….

If you look hard enough this no account , featureless flatland reveals its secrets ….. who knew that in the nearby Hamlet of Burgh a king had died ??!

… And not just any King ! Edward 1st – The cursed ‘Longshanks’ – Hammer of the Scots . Classic evil English Monarch in Braveheart 🎥. Off to attack the Scots ( again ) in 1307 – gets an ignominious end from Dysentery right here . Who knew ?

He should have known … the Romans couldn’t conquer the Scots – thats why they built a Wall ! and neither could he . it’s tough border country here ……

Even St Michaels is a rare Fort & Church in one!

On to our final destination- crossing into Bowness

and follow Hadrians way through the mosaic floored finishing hut ….

Where we get applause from a lovely group of tourists and this photo !!

And fellow finishers start to turn up too ….

We walk an extra 10 mins to find this iconic sign …. Knowing it’ll feel we’ve fully finished when we do ….

“All roads lead to Rome “

Our first Crossing of England – it’s been emotional

Our last 2 days stats ….. brings us to 188,770 steps over 6 days – we thought 200,000 for the trek so not far off .

This been a seriously strenuous but fun challenge- especially with my first born . The things you can see only a few hours from your house !!

Until next time …. Xxxxx

🥾Warm Boots & Bowie 👨‍🎤

Passing by the immense Lanercost Priory last night in fading light it was difficult to get photos . It’s really unusual as half of it is wrecked ( as you would expect ) after Henry VIII gave it a good kicking in the 1530s but the other half on the right was restored as a parish church 200 years later .

Today is 29 September and we start at yet another top quality B&B . The Scotch Arms Mews was an old pub which is now a luxury B&B in Brampton. Great for hikers , popular on this long distance trail , it’s kitted it out for drying boots, sorting muddy gear , log fires , Late night honesty Bar, and big breakfast super fuel for the day.

….. it has its own well set into the floor through a circular glass porthole.

The day is sunny, dry and perfect for heading to Carlisle. We make good time as this makes such a difference.

What’s this!? — strong shadows, we’re not used to this😆

Rolling countryside now , idyllic cottages , chickens in the road , being watched by a black cat. Less signs of the wall here but more than made up for it by the ideal conditions.

Broad grassy tracks across Roman quarries where Masons and Artisan Soldiers labored creating Stone for the Great Project . Some banking even used to protect Cambria from flooding.

On Into the valley of the river Eden. All trace of the harsh environment of previous days now gone the closer we get to the west end of the trail.

Soon into the Carlisle outskirts, passed Rickerby Tower . After so much serious fortification — you automatically give this war like tendencies. We love that it was built as a DoveCote in Victorian times ! 👍😘

We dump our bags – Head out to a pub we have been recommended called the “thin white duke”.
Yes it’s Bowie themed, yes it’s noisy, yes it’s our last night on the trail.

Let’s see how this goes…….. 😆

Xxxxxx

Sycamore Gap to Lanercost Priory – Sept 28th

Somehow I had forgotten to mention the wonderful jewel in the wall. The immense Housesteads fort . The largest of it’s kind. Super detailed archaeology and easily trackable tour of all its buildings.
And never tired of Sycamore gap here’s a Panorama – A brief moment as the weather races left to right.

There’s not a lot of Photos today – it is one of the longer hikes at 31 km in very poor weather and you need to get your head down and just do it.

So much so this one stage has 3 elevation profiles. Never seen more than 1 !

Lunch ; sheltering at Birdoswald Roman Fort – nice visitor Centre – huge gift shop . They even sell complete Roman suits of Armor- £500 !

We took a short detour off the track to see the Poltross Burn Milecastle . The best preserved one of all of its type . Based on the measurements from this one castle – the dimensions of the whole of Hadrians wall – even the height were discovered here.

A short stop for authentic Roman Latté 😁

And loving Graffiti – 2 Millennia old . Just stuck on the wall of an old barn using pillaged stone from the Wall ! 😳

And on to our nights stop – 2 soggy hikers – with a warm welcome from the locals 😏😏

Past 2 days stats – these steps will soon add up !

Night from us – Heading for Carlisle tomorrow X

Boncius & Thomodicus

LOCALY KNOWN AS “CHANGEABLE” Before we go any further – the photographs today look like the sun was on our side. This couldn’t be further from the truth 😆 In between deluges – ( and sometimes during ) – The camera comes out of a waterproof bag and straight back in afterwards. There will be no problem with blisters this walk as the trench foot has beaten them to it.

From there to the temple of Mithras 90 minutes later it’s quite a change. Wonderful really that this exists hidden away minutes from a major road. Built by homesick Romans , underground to re-create part of that God’s story , three senior officers of Hadrians army sponsored each of the three Alters shown in the photographs. And we can stand next to them 2000 years later. Amazing.

We have been thinking about our friends and loved ones and left each a coin on the altar. Dee, Roddy, Paul , Steve – these are for you. XXX Well it never hurts to avoid offending someone else’s faith.

Thinking it was only fair I did my legionnaires duty. I took my turn on the wall . Enemies of Rome come in many disguises.

Looking for a place to stop for lunch we looked along this horizon stretch of the wall and into the distance we saw like crashing waves against the cliffs – A gale twisted woods that could give us a shelter.

The best was yet to come. An hour or so later we came across a highlight. We knew it was coming – but delighted it was so soon and the rain held off for us . Maybe you recognize this scene when this place was used for location filming of the Morgan Freeman/Kevin Costner movie from 1991. The fight up on the wall at this point has forever made “Sycamore gap“ a prime location.

Stunning once you get there but exciting to approach it from above on the 100th set of perilous stone steps of the day

We are off to watch “Robin Hood – Prince of thieves” – immediately we get home!

Just stunning and picturesque featured on movie posters, T-shirts film trailers worldwide.

The tree has grown considerably since the movie!

Our day ended at the marvelous Twice Brewed Inn . The only Pub I know but it’s own Roman themed microbrewery — ( “Ale Cesar” a favorite) – that has its own observatory and soon a planetarium to take advantage of its “dark sky park status“. Situated next to the new £18M SILL – landscape and activity Center – it’s a brilliant way to run what was a run down roadside shell only a few years ago.

A memorable – in spite of the weather day

And before I go – to explain the strange title of today’s blog post – we developed over a number of rainy hours our own Latin names. ( The sort of thing you do when trudging along ) – I would like to introduce……

Thomodicus Addendum – which means nothing and it’s just an hysterical abuse of Latin — but has the word Thom in it 😆
And ……. Boncius Ambulante – given to me by Thom which apparently – in approximate Latin means “ Big Head Walking“ – hoho very 😆 funny.

Xxx

First Sight of the Wall

It’s Sunday 26th September – an unusually hot day as the promised deluge ☔️ moves to tomorrow’s forecast .

The stay at the Wormold guest house has been rejuvenating – best beds ! . Jane and Ian’s relaxed style – thoughtful renovations and flexibility with our timings was welcome .

A pity to leave really but the trail beckons and the day is fine . So a fond farewell to Wylam . I’ve decided to keep a record of all the Ian’s I meet – my record is 4 in one week on the West Highland Way. 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿

First Glimpse of the wall .

I’m sure it will wear off 😁 ….. but for the next few days we are going to be unusually happy to be photographed next to 2000 year old stones.

The first two or three days of this trail is on Rolling countryside before we start to cross the Pennines – that’s where it gets trickier .

But for now calm trails past ancient Oaks is a good introduction

Where the Waymarkers have a distinct ‘Camino’ look to them . But this time our way is the way of the white acorn .

Although the yellow arrow makes me feel at home.

It’s really hot – but Taking the time to meet the locals is always worth it even if one of them gets a bit carried away and tries to have a good crunch on my salty hand.

Thoms friend was better behaved …. 👍💕

We move uphill from here until we stop for lunch at this viewpoint.

With a Packed lunch with a traditional touch- tied up in brown paper and string -delicious.

Coming up the hill it’s a welcome sight of Holly and Rachel and – we keep seeing each other as we stop and start on the trail and had a quick drink with them at the Robin Hood Inn and official Trail Passport Stamp station an hour or so ago.

Great to meet fellow hikers and we really enjoyed chatting with these two. Like minded people with the same objective is a great recipe.

A few more hours hiking – passing “plane trees“ where the farsighted William Holden saved this part of the wall being used to build other buildings way back in 1801

And a fast march to meet up pick up for the night. Meeting at the George hotel in Chollerford- lovely village . Nice Inn – loads of character great site with views over the river – sat on Wicker furniture – but oddly run down – Faded Grandeur

Over the bridge …
The Tyne still broad . All still at sunset.

And a brief rest before Dave From the Simonsburn Tea rooms – our overnight stay –comes to pick us up from here to drive us to Simonsburn hamlet for the night. He’ll bring us back here tomorrow so we can re-join the trail where we left off.

Best bet of the day!

Spirits are high as Tom takes the part of the black king in full size chess! 😂😂😁💕

A warm welcome awaits in the guest house at Simonsburn – good company at dinner with all the guests talking and telling stories..

A brief check of the past two days activity — gives us motivation we can handle the more difficult parts ahead.

Until tomorrow x

Xxxx

Latin at the Metro

Hadrians Wall – Part 1

Today started at 5:30 AM and after some lengthy inter-railing ended up here. The start of the Hadrian’s Wall national path . As we’re hiking East to West seems a little odd starting at “Wallsend”

Only a short walk to Segedunum (Strong / Victory Fort ) and a very well funded visitor Center complete with A lecture theater in a glass tower and exceptional views of the archaeology.

The view over the old fort and it’s timeline captures our imagination . Edge of Empire !

And they do it with humor too – Ancient COVID regs’ – who knew 😏

From the Gormley legionnaire to the Roman helmet shaped tower- its a great start to our crossing of England.

The walk through Newcastle along the Tyne is dotted with Bars , Stag & Hen do’s , a strong cycle culture , famous bridges , and more Hints at History…..

Past the impressive Tyne rowing club – Balcony Bar – great views – cheap beer – Non members allowed -shame we can’t stop ! and on into Blaydon

Nobody tells you about the final mile Hill – seems endless at the end of a day on the road . Brilliant motivation from Thom – I needed it today as I had started this venture the way I would normally end one – The cumulative effect of the last few months I suppose. So to end up laughing and being physically pushed up the hill and over the finish line was perfect.

We’re ending our first day 25 km at Heddon-on-the-Wall . But staying 2 miles away in Wyram at the delightful Wormald guest house . Run by Jane and our first Ian of trip ! He picks us up from the 3 Tuns pub . It’s been an unusually tiring day – up at 5.30am , 6 hours to get to the start – before we even set foot on the trail. We both agree that overcoming the challenges was worth it .

Cheers !